What Are the Rising Trends and Challenges in PCB Design and Fabrication?

As the demand for complex, miniature, performance-driven electronics and electromechanical devices has grown, it has driven the demand for printed circuit boards (PCBs) too. While complex PCB designs are being used in several electronic gadgets which are becoming small in size, they are also used in devices required for mission-critical applications in defense, medical, aerospace, and so on. However, there are newer challenges each day as technologies are advancing. For instance, IoT, AR/VR, holographic displays, smart devices used in transportation systems, EVs, and so on offer several opportunities as well as challenges for flawless PCB design and fabrication. As new developments unfold in each of these sectors, the PCB design has to evolve as well. So, this is a continual process. The PCB industry segment would always have to introduce compatible designs of circuit boards that meet the opportunities and challenges in cutting-edge technologies across sectors. Would you like to know the top industry trends and accompanying challenges that will shape the future of the electronics industry? If that sounds yes, then read this post till the end.

PCB Design and Fabrication – Top Trends and Challenges Discussed

Here is the list of some of those trends and challenges that will be instrumental to the future of PCBs. So, let’s have a look at them.

  • High Power PCBs: Over the years, the demand for high power circuit boards above 48 volts has risen. One of the main reasons for this increased power of the circuit board is to accommodate substantial electronics components on a compact board. Applications, such as electric cars, solar panels, demand high voltage levels to maximize their performance. PCBs that support such applications should be more powerful, capable, and efficient.
  • High-density Interconnects (HDI): HDI technique was introduced owing to the high demand for miniature yet performance devices, mainly regarding routing traces. This technique boosts signal transmission speed by placing fewer layers on the circuit boards. However, the technique encounters problems regarding producing traces. In this way, individuals may end up routing more traces on smaller areas, resulting in noise-related issues. This is one area which requires further research and development.
  • Tighter Supply Chain Controls: As more and more manufacturers or OEMs partner with PCB services providers to fulfill their functional requirements, it is crucial to have excellent supply chain networks in place. This includes vendor networks for part procurement, transportation, warehousing, and so on. One must also be careful of counterfeit electronic components, which is one of the growing concerns. The digital revolution has grown significantly and calls for more electronics demanding high-quality circuit boards with attached components. As the circuit board evolves, unique and innovative designs will emerge. This will create avenues for counterfeiting and deception. Hence, it is important to have tight control of the supply chain aspect, which will help boost both visibility as well as accountability for those involved.
  • COTS Components: Today, OEMs are using commercial-off-the-shelf or COTS components to bring reliability and regulation to critical and space-based parts. They are the standard solution that not only improves and speeds up the design process but provides undeniable benefits of varying degrees.
  • IoT: The internet of things or IoT presents interesting opportunities as well as challenges for almost all industries, and the PCB industry segment is no exception. Earlier, the technology was mainly used for remote access and control through open-data connections. Today, it is more prevalent across industries, retail, domestic applications, and more. With an increasing number of smart devices being developed, their PCB designs have become complex too. One of the major challenges for IoT PCB is devising the standards and regulations that define all their production stages.

The aforementioned are some PCB trends and challenges that will considerably shape the industry in the future. While the demand for HDI-based boards would only increase in the future owing to the growing number of miniature devices, it is also crucial to overcome the limitations of HDI and focus on energy efficiency too. Rigiflex Technology is one of the prominent PCB manufacturers in the industry which focuses on energy efficiency and is capable of meeting the demands of modern applications in terms of PCB design, features, and functionality. With years of market presence and highly experienced employees, the company specializes in PCB designing and manufacturing.